When it comes to authorities on meat, you probably can't get any better than Bruce Aidells. The name that birthed a sausage empire is also behind close to a dozen cookbooks, including 2001's "Complete Meat Cookbook," a classic all-encompassing tome on all things meaty.
But in the decade or so since the publication of "Complete Meat Cookbook," the world of meat has evolved in a big way. The rise of small farmers and artisan butchers, and availability of once lesser-known meats and cuts has dramatically changed the landscape, which is now peppered with terms like "heritage," "certified organic," "pasture-raised" and "sustainable."
In his new book, "The Great Meat Cookbook," Aidells helps us navigate this new terrain in an authoritative yet extremely user-friendly way, explaining cuts, terminology and cooking methods in a thorough and easy manner. The book is chock-full of helpful tips and advice for novices and experts, from how to judge the quality of meat, to how to freeze or thaw what you have on hand. He includes great tidbits throughout the book, whether sharing his favorite meat thermometers or helping you decipher the meat label at the supermarket.
The book also includes recipes -- hundreds of them -- ranging from a simple grilled rib-eye steak to more advanced dishes and covering newly popular cuts and meats (like goat), with recipe inspirations spanning the globe. Recipes also include helpful tags such as "Fit for company" and "In a hurry" (recipes in 30 minutes or less), even "Great leftovers."More than just an authoritative text and extensive cookbook, "The Great Meat Cookbook" is a fun and engaging read. No matter what your cooking level, this book will help you feel like a pro.
“The Great Meat Cookbook” by Bruce Aidells with Anne-Marie Ramo, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, $40.